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Struggles of the first "New Democrat": Jimmy Carter, youth employment policy, and the Great Society legacy.

The reevaluation of the Carter presidency has hit its stride. The critical interpretation of contemporary writers has been largely replaced With a more sympathetic understanding of the difficulties any American president would have faced in the late 1970s. Yet, the dominant interpretation continues to focus on the inadequacies of Carter's personality and leadership style, which is generally described as that of a trustee.(1) Under the trusteeship model, Jimmy Carter believed Congress to be captured by special interests and narrow constituencies. He further believed that the president should be above parochial politics, acting as a trustee for his constituency, the entire nation. This focus is said to have led Carter to ignore politics, and political reality, to do what he thought was right--at great cost to his ability to enact his legislative agenda and to his reputation as an effective president. The idea of the trustee president offers valuable insight into episodes in which Carter undertook unpopular initiatives, facing head-on a Congress controlled by his own party to enact programs he deemed to be in the nation's best interest. It is less useful when assessing a widely popular initiative. One such initiative, youth employment programs, had strong bipartisan support In both Houses of Congress yet offered Carter no relief from the criticism and frustration that came to characterize his administration.

Youth employment policy of the late 1970s highlights the difficulty Carter had in trying to refocus the Democratic Party. In the aftermath of the Vietnam War and Watergate, Jimmy Carter ran for president as a Washington outsider. Historian Burton Kaufman has noted that Carter's "public image synchronized with the message the American people seemed to be sending to Washington," including a "distrust of big and wasteful government, hostility to special interest groups, opposition to more and higher taxes, insistence on economic frugality and greater local responsibility, and an emphasis on personal values."(2) Carter played on the nation's anti-Washington attitudes by criticizing Congress as a body captured by special interest groups and preoccupied with running for reelection. He also lamented the absence of integrity and honesty in Washington and promised to restore American values to the office of the president. While some liberal New Deal Democrats like Hubert Humphrey viewed such attacks on Washington as a challenge to the party's traditions, historian Gary Reichard has written that "it was more common, even among liberals, to view Carter's campaign's themes as a modernization, rather than a contradiction of the New Deal traditions of the Democratic party."(3) Carter insisted that the commitments of the Democratic Party would not be abandoned but that they could be fulfilled by an honest and efficient government. Throughout his presidency, Carter distanced himself from the party's Great Society image of lavish spending and cumbersome bureaucracy and he tried to maintain a tricky balance between the traditional goals of the Democratic Party and his emphasis on efficiency and economic frugality According to historian John Dumbrell, Carter succeeded: "Within the ambit of the `age of limits' as he understood and interpreted that concept, it can be concluded that Carter kept the faith."(4) Yet, as Kaufman notes, Carter's position, while popular with the American public and with those moderate Democrats who recognized the vulnerability of the Great Society legacy, nevertheless "challenged powerful elements within Carter's own party, who denied that liberal ends could be reached by conservative means without distorting those ends."(5)

Those powerful elements--liberal Democrats whose support Carter desperately needed to enact his programs--were responsible for the failure of the administration's only new domestic initiative for 1980, a youth employment program. A government effort to reduce youth unemployment had strong bipartisan support in the 1970s and proved to be an issue that most Americans agreed needed to be addressed. In the summer of 1977, Carter signed the Youth Employment and Demonstration Projects Act (Public Law 93, 95th Cong., 1st sess. [August 5, 1977]), which allocated funds for test projects throughout the country to find long-term solutions to the problem of youth unemployment. The administration's final proposal, submitted to Congress in 1980, carefully targeted traditional Democratic constituencies--urban areas and minority youths--but also contained more conservative elements such as private sector involvement, minimal public sector jobs, and local responsibility for implementation. The departure from a traditional liberal approach was made explicit by Stuart Eizenstat, the director of Carter's Domestic Policy Staff (DPS), during a speech on youth employment. "The President and the Administration will not repeat the mistakes of the past--we will take the right path.... Where we often painted with broad and zealous brushstrokes in the sixties we now require a finer hand."(6) But by reshaping the traditional Democratic approach to such a problem, Carter antagonized members of his own coalition. Liberal Democratic constituencies, particularly African Americans, labor, and urban interests, viewed his initiatives as betrayal of the faith. Carter hoped to move the Democratic Party toward the American mainstream to ensure its viability and to better fulfill its commitments to the American people. Carter was caught in what political scientist Stephen Skowronek calls the "impossible leadership situation," the difficult position of being associated with the dominant ideology in the nation--the Great Society legacy--at a time when support for that ideology was waning.(7) The backlash against the Great Society led Carter to offer new methods for fulfilling traditional Democratic commitments. As a Democratic president, however, he could not completely distance himself from the party's legacy. Therefore, he instead argued that the goals of the party could be better fulfilled through new, more efficient methods. Unfortunately for Carter, this middle-of-the-road approach pleased no one. Conservatives still viewed him as a Democratic president who represented the enemy; more important, liberals viewed his new approach as a betrayal of the party's spirit. This article, through an analysis of the youth employment initiatives, will examine the reaction of traditional Democratic interest groups and liberal members of Congress to the attempt by this "New Democrat" to refocus the party to face the issues of the 1970s. As this analysis shows, Carter's policy initiative failed not simply because of Republican opposition but because liberal Democrats rejected the president's effort at using new means to fulfill traditional ends.

Early Manpower Programs

For twenty years following the emergency employment programs of the Great Depression, the federal government paid little attention to manpower initiatives. In the 1960s, a variety of congressional committees approved programs to serve particular constituencies. The need for a more coherent system became apparent as individual application procedures and overlapping services often produced confusion and frustration for applicants in search of help. By the late 1960s, legislators became more focused on coordinating the delivery of services and began to seek ways to make the manpower programs of the Great Society more efficient.(8)

Debate over government employment policies occupied Congress and the Nixon administration for four years, finally resulting in the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of 1973 (CETA) (Public Law 203, 93d Cong., 1st sess. [December 28, 1973]). The debates closely followed party lines, as the Democratic majority in Congress insisted on public sector jobs to put the poor and uneducated to work, while the Republican Nixon preferred to provide money to localities to create their own training programs and to the private sector to encourage the hiring of the unemployed. Essentially a compromise between the president and Congress, CETA made localities responsible for employment programs, as Nixon desired, by consolidating the various employment programs into block grants to prime sponsors, or local governments and community groups. Decisions would be made at the local level, with oversight of the programs ultimately resting with the Department of Labor (DOL). These jobs were intended to fight "structural" unemployment by targeting workers with low skills or other disadvantages. To appease liberal members of Congress, CETA provided funds for public service jobs to put the unemployed to work. In 1974 and 1976, in response to worsening economic conditions, Congress increased the number of public sector jobs funded by CETA. These jobs were aimed at alleviating cyclical unemployment, caused by recession rather than by lack of skills, and were targeted at the poor.(9) The few employment programs aimed specifically at youths were incorporated in the CETA legislation. Title III included youths among the special groups whose manpower programs would be under direct DOL control.(10) Title IV continued the job Corps, created in 1964, which provided jobs, training, and counseling for youths at residential and nonresidential centers. In addition, youths participated in CETA programs aimed at the poor and unemployed.(11) These programs, however, proved insufficient to stem growing youth unemployment, and by 1976 Congress had begun to study specific responses to the problem.

Increased interest in the problem of unemployed youths was demonstrated in the hearing on youth employment held before a Joint Economic Committee of Congress in September 1976.(12) Joint committees have no legislative authority, but rather serve for information gathering. Consequently, those presiding and giving testimony are generally sympathetic to the pertinent issue. A bipartisan collection of congressmen heard testimony from representatives of Congress, cities, labor, academia, and business. Most presentations emphasized the need to link education and work to provide long-term solutions to the youth unemployment problem. Government-provided "dead-end" jobs were described as part of the problem, with education seen as vital to young people learning skills necessary for meaningful employment. An alternative view, expressed most emphatically by liberal Senator Hubert Humphrey, was that the sense of responsibility and self-respect that come with having a job provide ample reason to begin employing young people in jobs that may be "dead-end." While sophisticated programs linking education and employment would be helpful, Humphrey argued, the time and effort required to study and devise a workable program made immediate public sector employment preferable.(13) The hearing reflected the anxious mood of the mid-1970s; everyone agreed that more needed to be done about youth unemployment but disagreed as to how best to tackle the problem. The lines that had been drawn during the debate over CETA would continue. The New Deal-Great Society tradition encouraged public sector jobs to put the unemployed to work immediately, while the backlash against big, inefficient government promoted private efforts and state and local programs to reduce public sector employment.

The Carter Response

Into this atmosphere stepped Jimmy Carter, the outsider from Georgia. Because a narrow election victory over an unelected incumbent gave Carter no clear mandate to act, he had to establish his authority after taking office. Unfortunately for the new president, an economy suffering from both high unemployment and high inflation forced him to work both sides of the equation. Carter was a self-proclaimed fiscal conservative, and tighter budgets became his means of fighting inflation, a position popular with conservatives, especially business groups. Nevertheless, his advisers viewed youth employment as a popular issue that could provide the president with an early legislative victory. In a message to Congress barely a month after taking office, Carter took advantage of the existing concern over youth unemployment and introduced administration plans for the initial fight against this important problem. In addition to more funding for the few existing programs for youths, Carter proposed three new initiatives: a National Youth Conservation Corps, run by the DOL, to employ young people in conservation projects on public lands; Youth Community Conservation and Improvement projects, established by state and local governments, to benefit local communities; and Comprehensive Youth Employment and Training programs to provide disadvantaged youths with jobs and training. Half the funds for the third initiative would go to local prime sponsors through the CETA system, and the other half would be used for experimental test projects administered by the secretary of labor. Carter noted that although these programs could be enacted under Title III of the existing CETA legislation, he would propose specific authorizing legislation to Congress because he believed "full Congressional participation is essential for projects of this magnitude."(14) The president had the power to act under existing legislation, but strong congressional support would give him much-needed authority on this domestic initiative.

To gain congressional support, Carter included in his proposal the programs of key members of Congress. For example, as chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Senator Henry Jackson (D-WA) was vital to the administration's energy policies. The DPS worked to keep Jackson happy, and Carter included the senator's pet project, the Young Adult Conservation Corps (YACC), in the 1977 youth employment legislation sent to the Hill. The YACC would augment the summer conservation program by providing year-round public service jobs for all qualified unemployed youths. Carter preferred to promote private sector involvement in the youth employment problem; public sector jobs represented the old tradition of treating unemployment. But the administration needed Jackson's support and included his program.(15) The other components of the legislative proposal also incorporated programs of leaders in both Houses, although they were more in line with administration goals.

The administration proposals quickly became the Youth Employment and Demonstration Projects Act of 1977 (YEDPA). In late May, the Senate passed the administration's program by a vote of 80 to 3, creating a new Title VIII to CETA that consisted of the three new youth programs. The House retained the administration's conservation corps but went farther than either the White House or the Senate in its experimental projects. The House Education and Labor Committee argued that the more test projects undertaken, the better Congress and the administration could evaluate and create future policy. The major experiment, first introduced by Ronald A. Sarasin (R-CT), would keep youths in school by guaranteeing a job to any disadvantaged young person who stayed in, or returned to, school. Prime sponsors would still receive funds to experiment with their own programs, and the secretary of labor would likewise retain discretionary funds for special projects. The House passed H.R. 6138 by a vote of 334 to 61.(16)

While the bill passed by a wide margin in both Houses, there was one major issue of debate over the YEDPA legislation. Conservatives in Congress opposed provisions that would pay young people the "prevailing wage," meaning the existing wage paid to adult workers. Liberals, particularly those with ties to labor, argued that to pay less than the prevailing wage would lead employers simply to replace older workers with youths, thereby undercutting the purpose of employment programs. The Senate worked out a compromise in which the prevailing wage would be paid when filling an existing position.(17) Carter remained aloof from the debate over the prevailing wage, allowing Congress to determine, for these test projects, how to pay workers.(18)

Rather than argue over which experimental projects to include in the conference report, House and Senate conferees decided to try them all. The final bill cleared by Congress contained a series of one-year test projects under a new Part C of Title III of CETA. These programs emphasized finding new ways to fight structural unemployment and went even farther than the administration had hoped. The experimental projects were targeted at the most disadvantaged youths and would attempt to instill skills and training that would address structural, long-term unemployment. The changes to the administration proposal proved acceptable to Carter. To fulfill the goals of the Democratic Party, to aid the most needy youths, especially minorities, he sought experimental projects to find a new, more economical approach. Among the nontraditional methods to achieve this end, he sought to increase private sector involvement and to minimize the role of the public sector in job creation. Public sector jobs, insisted on by liberal labor Democrats and unions, were provided during this transition period to aid youths while the test projects were evaluated, but they would be phased out once the successful test projects became permanent. In briefing the president on the outcome in Congress, DPS chief Stuart Eizenstat noted that although Congress amended the initial proposal, the bill fulfilled the administration's basic goals.(19) The experimental nature of the legislation would help Americans to learn about the causes and patterns of youth unemployment and to replace the traditional Democratic approach of public sector jobs with more efficient and productive alternatives.(20)

Special Interests in Opposition

Despite Carter's emphasis on youth employment initiatives and the inclusion of public sector jobs in the legislation, the administration approach came under fire from traditional Democratic factions. Vernon Jordan, Jr., executive director of the National Urban League, voiced concerns felt by many African-American interest groups. To make clear his displeasure with Carter's youth initiatives, May 1977 Jordan in sent Eizenstat a copy of his speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors Employment and Training Advisory Council, where he expressed dismay at the administration's priority of balancing the budget, a measure he believed would aggravate the employment problem. Instead of austerity measures, the administration should undertake "massive federal job-creation programs aimed ... at young people."(21) Jordan's proposals highlight the difficulties the Carter administration faced as a Democratic administration using new means to achieve old ends. By questioning austerity measures, Jordan appealed to the more traditional Democratic belief in the active use of government to provide Jobs rather than simply to protect economic stability through fighting inflation. He insisted that full employment policies represented the surest means of balancing the budget through decreased social welfare costs and increased tax revenue. In addition, Jordan questioned the ability of CETA's local prime sponsors to adequately serve youths in need of work. Because unemployment represented the failure of society to prepare individuals for the workforce, he believed the federal government should attempt to provide such education and training to all. Such policies should be targeted at the group most adversely affected and least able to bear the burden--minority youths--with federal control of the program to ensure that it is done properly.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors, composed of the mayors of America's largest cities, also expressed reservations about the administration's proposals. Joseph D. Alviani of the Conference of Mayors informed Carter of the organization's belief that YEDPA placed too much emphasis on research designs. While Alviani paid lip service to Carter's view that new programs were important and should be developed, he insisted that they should not be tested at the expense of immediate urban needs. By requiring prime sponsors to develop new programs, the conference believed, precious time and resources would be taken away from the priority of fighting unemployment. These mayors, from the largest urban areas in the country--generally the most Democratic voting districts--wanted to continue to receive the federal funding they had grown accustomed to during the Great Society. Unlike Jordan, they approved of the continued reliance on the CETA prime sponsor system. Of course, the mayors would be the primary administrators of federal CETA money. Their goal was to maintain the flow of federal funds to the cities. Carter's emphasis on new projects and increased efficiency threatened the established federal funding mechanisms. The mayors could not support Carter's program if it meant losing the federal money they used to ease immediate unemployment, even if it might lead to long-term solutions. Finally, also unlike Jordan, the mayors suggested increased emphasis on private sector jobs for unemployed youths.(22) They realized that federal money provided to prime sponsors for subsidized wages, rather than federal money paid directly to youths, would have a double impact for cities; unemployed youths would be placed in jobs and local businesses would gain cheap labor, providing a double boost to the local economy.

While at times disagreeing with African-American interests as voiced by Vernon Jordan, particularly on private sector employment, the Conference of Mayors represented, in the eyes of the administration, a traditional liberal Democratic interest group.(23) In his response to Alviani, Carter aide Jack Watson explained the primary purpose of the administration's youth initiative. Watson assured the Conference of Mayors that prime sponsors were still the focal point of the YEDPA. With regard to research designs, however, he suggested that the mayors misunderstood the purpose of YEDPA. The legislation was intended specifically to test new ideas to provide Congress and the administration with information to develop long-term programs; short-term solutions were no longer satisfactory. In the administration's opinion, the federal funding now sent to cities to simply provide short-term jobs should be phased into long-term solutions.(24)

While prime sponsors tested programs through YEDPA, the administration refrained from promoting or developing specific programs of its own. Despite appeals to initiate programs based on both government and private models, the administration instead preferred to allow local community groups to develop programs to be evaluated. For example, in September 1977, Sam Brown, director of the federal Agency for Volunteer Service (ACTION), suggested to President Carter a National Youth Service as a direct approach to youth unemployment. Brown proposed to guarantee a job to any sixteen- to nineteen-year-old looking for work in five large and five medium-sized cities.(25) Response within the administration was almost unanimous in opposing the Brown proposal. Among the arguments against the Brown initiative were claims that it was inadequately targeted to the most needy, it focused on eastern cities at the expense of rural areas and other regions, and it grossly underestimated program costs. The most consistent complaint, however, was that the Brown proposal was untested and that YEDPA would test programs for youth employment. For the time being, the administration agreed to allow YEDPA to run its course before taking on any new initiatives of its own.(26) The administration seemed to fear that any program it offered as a solution to youth unemployment would lack sufficient support, and that only after conducting evaluations of independently developed programs could it gain the authority to act decisively.

It is not difficult to understand the administration's emphasis on demonstration programs and further study. To some extent, YEDPA represented a stall tactic. Carter had taken an issue agreed to be a significant national problem and insisted that it required new solutions. He faced the youth employment problem, proposed a series of test programs to learn how best to fight the problem long-term, created public sector jobs to ease unemployment in the short-term, and left research and specific program creation to localities. Given his position, it would have proved difficult for him to do anything else. CETA had evolved from a situation in the 1960s in which scattered, untested programs administered by a variety of agencies were aimed at an array of interest groups. These programs had become entrenched, guarded jealously by the interests they served. Consequently, the Great Society approach had come under fire as irresponsible and expensive. In addition, Carter had campaigned as a Washington outsider, above politics as usual and dedicated to making government work better. By relying on the decentralized organization of CETA and placing responsibility for program development on local prime sponsors, but maintaining oversight by the Department of Labor, the administration could simply choose the program with the best results.

Carter had antagonized some traditional Democratic interests, revealing the fault lines that ran beneath his position as a Democratic president presiding over a vulnerable legacy. He managed to maintain congressional support by putting to good use the qualities on which he ran for office: analysis, technical problem solving, and evaluation. Who could argue with a program if it had been tested for two years and found to be the most effective at fighting unemployment among young people? The legislation had something for everyone: conservatives approved of using the existing CETA prime sponsor system to test projects; public sector employment was maintained, as liberals desired, to ease unemployment while projects were tested; key congressional leaders, such as Senator Jackson, received funding to test their pet projects; and the administration tackled an important national issue without having to make immediate decisions or commitments. With significant power, but limited authority, Carter managed to make a popular initiative his cause, even while buying time in which to establish his authority to act.

Evaluating the Demonstration Projects

The programs funded under YEDPA did not begin until January 1, 1978, so evaluation of programs could not really begin until 1979. To provide more time in which to study the programs, and to define administration goals, Carter requested that the test projects be extended. In a year when CETA came under fire for the administration of its adult employment programs, the youth initiatives received relatively little attention. With a few administrative changes to the overall CETA program to provide for better oversight, the extension was granted by Congress.(27) Liberals and minority groups could support the extension because public sector employment continued to be funded through the program. The federal government was still committed to providing jobs for those in need, a preference expressed by Senator Humphrey during the joint hearings on youth unemployment. Conservatives could approve the extension because the program provided money to localities to fight unemployment, and it would be used to find the best way of phasing out dependence on public sector jobs.

With demonstration projects just under way, and no new legislation required for two years, the administration spent 1978 setting its priorities, defining its mission, and creating its strategy for employment policy. Although reluctant to propose any specific programs or offer any specific solutions until all test programs could be evaluated, Carter and his most trusted advisers clearly had basic requirements for any final program. First, youth employment programs must be targeted at those most in need. For Carter, this was an economy measure. In his State of the Union address in January 1978, Carter stated that the most effective way of treating unemployment without raising inflation was to target specific problem groups--such programs cost less money than general programs. Target groups had particular needs for education and training to prepare them for meaningful employment. Second, programs must be efficient, offering the greatest chance of placement in meaningful employment at the lowest cost. Carter promoted his administration as anti-inflationary, and any new youth programs must conform with that priority. The combination of Carter's anti-inflationary emphasis and the stand he took as a Washington outsider intent on reducing government and making it work better led to the third priority in youth employment programs: they must strive to increase participation of the private sector and phase out reliance on public sector jobs. These priorities alienated liberals. They could support Carter's emphasis on targeting--their minority and poor constituents would benefit from such programs. But they opposed what they viewed as an overemphasis on the role of the private sector, unwilling to forgo the federal government's responsibility to provide jobs, at least as a last resort. This issue resulted in heated debate between Carter and long-standing liberal Representative Augustus Hawkins (D-CA) of the House subcommittee on unemployment. Hawkins was coauthor of the Humprey-Hawkins full employment bill that became law in 1978. The original bill, cosponsored by Senator Hubert Humphrey (D-MN), called for the government to provide "last resort" jobs for those unable to find employment. Hawkins strongly believed in the government's responsibility to provide jobs and opposed Carter's inflation-fighting budget cutting at the expense of public sector employment.(28)

As test projects took effect in January 1978, the administration's proposed 1979 budget revealed Carter's long-term goal of reduced dependence on public sector jobs. Although the president planned to increase job spending by $2 billion, the 1979 budget proposal maintained public sector employment at its 1978 level of 750,000 jobs, despite hopes from liberal Democrats that the number would approach 1 million. Representative Parren J. Mitchell (D-MD), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, expressed his doubt that relying on the private sector would aid the unemployed. According to Mitchell, Carter was essentially "abandoning a whole group of people who are out of work."(29) The New York Times reported that the administration predicted a rise in employment in the coming year. Carter therefore planned to reduce public sector employment as unemployment fell, making it a simple countercyclical measure. Private sector initiatives, such as wage subsidies, would continue to fight structural unemployment for targeted groups.(30)

The priority the administration placed on targeting groups and attempting new strategies is reflected by Eizenstat's advice to the president in May 1978. That month, Secretary of the Interior Cecil D. Andrus requested that the president take part in a public information campaign for the YACC to increase the credibility and public awareness of the program. Eizenstat urged Carter to integrate any publicity of YACC within promotions for the youth initiatives in general. The YACC, he pointed out, was the least targeted of all youth employment programs. It also did nothing to link the private sector to employment programs. Eizenstat reminded the president that YACC had been included in the initial administration proposal because of its importance to Senator Jackson, not because it best fulfilled administration goals. Specific support for YACC would open the president to the charge that he was using scarce funding to provide jobs for less than the neediest youths and would contradict the administration position of fighting unemployment by targeting specific problem groups. YACC was important for political reasons, and should not be promoted as an example of how the administration was trying to solve the youth unemployment problem.(31) Public service jobs met an immediate need, but Carter strove to find a solution to the long-term problems faced by disadvantaged youths. Government jobs, he believed, were not the answer. They could be used to stem the short-term problems related to recession, but not the long-term problems that plagued disadvantaged youths.

As if limiting public sector employment was not enough to anger liberals, Carter also moved toward business groups. In May 1978, Carter announced that he had proposed, and Congress had approved, steps to increase the partnership between the private sector and the government. First, as part of CETA reauthorization, prime sponsors receiving funds through Title VII would be required to establish private industry councils (PICs) "dominated by business representatives" to promote private sector employment. The New York Times called it the first major effort to include the private sector in the planning of jobs programs. In addition, Carter proposed a targeted tax credit for private businesses that hired disadvantaged workers.(32) The president continued to move away from government responsibility to provide public sector jobs and to centrally control youth employment programs. These proposals led critics to note a resemblance to Republican policies and would force traditional Democratic interest groups to question the commitment of this Democrat to the party's spirit.

Preparing for 1979 and 1980

When Carter announced the Private Sector Initiative (PSI) and the targeted tax credit, he also made public the creation of a task force to study the youth unemployment problem. Vice President Mondale had agreed to chair the cabinet-level task force, which would oversee program implementation, gather information, and coordinate the problem-solving process. Because Carter had placed himself squarely against big, cumbersome, inefficient government, some in the administration feared that the apparent bureaucratic growth would damage Carter politically. The creation of a new entity would be used by opponents to label him as another traditional Democrat and damage his authority to act. Yet, he needed some publicity, some credit, some way to assure people that he was working on the youth employment problem. The approach Carter chose to address the needs of youths--studying the problem, creating demonstration projects, evaluating programs--might result in the best course of action, but it took time, a precious commodity in Washington and a departure from the traditional approach of the New Deal and Great Society--the "100 days" model of fast-paced legislation early in an administration.(33)

YEDPA programs were scheduled to end in the election year of 1980, and new legislation would be required early that year for congressional consideration. By November 1978, members of the DPS had developed a youth employment strategy for 1979, the crucial year in which to announce proposals and solidify support. They planned to spend 1979 in a "year long process of assessment and reconsideration" and would seek to develop a consensus around the administration's idea of creating "new institutional relationships" to link schools, CETA prime sponsors, and the private sector. Staff members noted an "emerging consensus" on the need to provide youths with education, training, and work experience, and they believed that efforts in 1979 could forge a coalition. The staff also recognized that youth employment had become a popular issue and that Carter must take the opportunity to "exercise active leadership" to gain a relatively easy political victory for an administration facing many uphill battles in Congress.(34) The problem was that although youth employment was a popular bipartisan issue, and both conservatives and liberals interested in youth employment agreed on the goals set by the administration, the two sides disagreed on the means to achieve them, making a decisive policy victory elusive for the administration. Ultimately, the Democratic president who took it upon himself to modify traditional Democratic policies to save the party and its spirit would have the most trouble appeasing traditional Democratic interest groups and liberal members of Congress, while conservatives tacitly approved Carter's move toward business and waited for the splits in the Democratic coalition to grow.

While the Vice President's Task Force did its work, Carter's advisers tried to maintain the administration's visibility on the issue. In April 1979, Eizenstat proposed a policy review on youth employment to assess the administration's actions up to that point. He worked diligently to portray youth employment as a "very visible minority issue," and thus "substantively and politically important" for Democrats. The purpose of the review was twofold. First, the report would prepare the way for the long-term legislative proposals promised in 1977, when YEDPA was first enacted. Second, and more important, the administration would get some credit for its work on the issue--mostly, it was hoped, in Democratic circles. Eizenstat and the president were frustrated that their efforts for unemployed youths went largely unnoticed and unappreciated, particularly by members of the traditional Democratic coalition.(35)

By late 1979, the work of the task force, which held conferences and meetings throughout the nation soliciting information and opinions from all parties interested in the youth employment problem, began to suggest that the most significant problem in employing young people was their lack of a basic education.(36) While traditional employment programs either provided make-work jobs that instilled no skills or provided jobs that developed very specific skills, the task force promoted an approach that would offer basic education and work skills that, it argued, could be adapted to many kinds of jobs. As early as July the DPS recognized the need for an educational component to new youth employment legislation, and by November it was clear that the 1980 legislative proposals would consist of two parts: (1) a rewritten CETA Title TV to provide more intensive employment and training services for out-of-school youths and (2) an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of1965 (ESEA) (Public Law 10, 89th Cong., 1st sess. [April 11, 1965]) to target basic education and skills for disadvantaged high school students.(37)

Those two initiatives became the core of the administration's proposal. In December, the president received a policy review that used the experience of the previous three years and the findings of the task force to offer policy recommendations and options.(38) The review noted that youth employment problems were not general but rather affected a concentrated population of disadvantaged and minority youths. While the wage gap between young black and white workers had narrowed to 8 percent by 1977, the real problem was a drop in minority workforce participation and a lack of basic skills among disadvantaged youths. Thus, highly targeted programs aimed at the specific needs of these young people would do more to solve the youth unemployment problem than general employment programs. Such an approach had the added benefit of requiring less funding, something the inflationary pressures of the late 1970s and Carter's emphasis on fiscal austerity made an important consideration.

Based on experience with YEDPA and the findings of the task force, the most successful programs combined basic education and work experience. Thus, the policy recommendations included a two-pronged attack, one led by the DOL, the other by the newly created Department of Education. The DOL program would consolidate existing youth program funding into block grants to give prime sponsors greater flexibility, while establishing performance standards for both operators and participants to chart progress and assure accountability. These block grants would be distributed by a formula that would target rural and urban areas hit hardest by youth unemployment. The more innovative aspect of the proposal focused on education. The Department of Education program would focus on junior and senior high school students. It would emphasize a combination of learning and part-time work in an effort to develop "basic literacy and computation skills" found to be lacking in many disadvantaged job seekers. Individual schools would implement programs and would compete with other district schools for funds; continued funding would depend on tangible progress, such as reduced drop-out rates or increased test scores. Furthermore, the private sector, parents, teachers, and local groups would be involved in developing programs.(39)

While Carter's advisers agreed on the basic components of a new youth initiative, they disagreed on funding levels. The Office of Management and Budget, ever frugal, recommended a $500 million program. This figure was based on a projected "graying of America" and on the idea that less money could be spent, if properly targeted, to aid those most in need. The DPS suggested a $2 billion program. Eizenstat in particular emphasized that, because spending had been cut in so many programs in an effort to fight inflation, some spending on youth programs would go a long way to please (liberal Democratic) constituents.(40) Vice President Mondale weighed in on the side of the DPS. The seasoned veteran of Democratic politics offered the president a confidential "political point of view." Mondale noted the importance of youth employment initiatives to Democratic constituencies, and that the issue hit "all the right bases": civil rights, education, cities, and labor. He then referred to the challenge that Carter faced for the Democratic nomination in 1980. Youth employment "is an issue that [Senator Edward] Kennedy will try to take away from us if he possibly can."(41) Kennedy, who had no problem establishing his liberal credentials, took the offensive by citing youth jobs as the best way to aid cities and proposed a $12 billion jobs program.(42) In response to the lavish spending Kennedy proposed for youth initiatives, Mondale recommended that the president approve the $2 billion proposal. He believed it better to sacrifice other budget increases to keep youth employment well funded. With the right packaging, the vice president argued, the initiative could be the highlight of the 1980 legislative program. The proposal supported work, skills, education, cities, rural areas, civil rights, and compassion for the disadvantaged, and thus appealed to conservatives as well as liberals.(43) Carter ultimately accepted the advice of the DPS and the vice president, and the administration proposed a new $2 billion program.(44)

The size of the new initiative, however, presented the president with an apparent contradiction. His 1980 budget, proposed in January 1979, had cut federal job spending by 7 percent, eliminating over 200,000 federally supported jobs for teens. To stem criticism, the president had promoted the targeted tax credit as a job-creating measure, but critics were not appeased. Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill (D-MA) summed up the feeling of liberal Democrats when he insisted that he "did not become Speaker of the House to dismantle the programs that I've worked all my life for." Predictably, labor and city officials also opposed the cuts.(45) Carter was seen as changing gears on his Democratic constituents. The New York Times identified the change in traditional ways of thinking about job programs that the Carter proposals represented. Traditional programs provided specific job skills, but the vice president's task force found that the biggest problem was a lack of general, basic skills. The cutbacks were aimed at programs that represented the old ideology--programs that would provide very specific skills that, from the administration's perspective, would do little to increase a participant's long-term employability. The new way of thinking resulted in new initiatives that combined work and education.(46) The new programs, in the face of cutbacks intended to fight inflation, led to considerable criticism of the president's initiative,' criticism that came primarily from Democratic ranks.

Division in the Ranks

The response of African Americans to Carter's newest proposal essentially reflected the concerns described by Vernon Jordan in 1977. According to Louis Martin, Carter's special assistant and liaison to the black community, a cross section of "national and local grass roots Black community leaders" continued to be critical of administration positions. Black youth unemployment remained of primary importance to blacks, who began to blame persistent high unemployment on Carter's tight budgets. Martin suggested that only restored funding for programs like public sector summer jobs would restore the faith of the black community in Carter's efforts.(47) A special report on black youth unemployment in the New York Times noted that in difficult economic times,jobs go to the best qualified, who are usually older and white. Therefore, simple reliance on, even incentives for, the private sector are not enough to create jobs for minority youths.(48)

Urban interests also questioned administration policies. Representatives of America's largest cities flooded the White House with letters in protest of reduced funding for youth summer employment. Most followed the reasoning of the New York State Congressional Delegation, which wrote to Carter that the "potentially explosive mixture of poverty, unemployment and community tension can be defused" only through provision of a sufficient number of summer jobs for young people.(49) The National Conference of Mayors noted that, despite the talk of aid to cities, Carter had cut urban spending by $12 billion in the 1980 budget.(50) These interests could not support the administration's new initiatives at the expense of funds on which the cities depended to put young people to work.

The administration's responses could not have pleased them. Bill Spring, associate director for the DPS, reminded grant recipients that the programs under YEDPA had been test projects and would soon expire. He assured them that the administration was working on new approaches to the youth employment problem, and that fiscal year 1981 would be one of transition, with funds provided to get them through the year and adjusted to the new program.(51) Jim McIntyre, director of the Office of Management and Budget, took a more explicit approach. McIntyre explained to Senator Jacob Javits (R-NY) that the state of the economy required difficult choices, and that while the administration had increased overall resources for youth employment, it had also become more focused on the most needed, least expensive programs with the best chance for long-term gains. Summer public service jobs did not fit that criterion and therefore could not be funded at former levels.(52) Finally, Carter argued that while he did propose budget cuts for public sector summer jobs, "the coming on line of private sector efforts including the Targeted Job Tax Credit will further increase total positions."(53) It may have seemed necessary to use such measures in a high-inflation, budget-cutting year, but traditional Democratic interest groups were not pleased that federal funds for favorite programs were drying up. Having grown accustomed to the last Democratic president spending enormous sums on both guns and butter, liberal Democrats were not prepared to have to choose between kinds of butter. In re-creating Democratic social policy, Carter antagonized some of the most loyal Democratic interest groups.

Where the goals of the youth program would not be compromised, the administration sought to appease liberal interests. Carter maintained the support of labor, specifically the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), by adopting prevailing wage provisions into the administration proposal. Conservatives in Congress, generally supportive of the new youth initiative, planned to introduce a subminimum wage provision, which labor refused to accept.(54) With the problems he already faced with liberal interests, Carter and his staff decided to support the AFL's position on prevailing wages, since it would not significantly alter the administration's goals in the legislation.(55)

In other areas the administration refused to budge. One provision of the new proposal created school site councils, made up of teachers, parents, employers, and members of the community, that would have veto power over school plans. Carter and his advisers knew that education groups, particularly the AFL-CIO affiliate American Federation of Teachers (AFT), would oppose any authority over the decisions of local schools. But the purpose of the new programs made such veto power "necessary to ensure real consultation with business and community groups."(56) The councils would obviously gain the support of community and business groups at the expense of a traditional Democratic interest, the AFT.

Carter's advisers recognized the administration's difficult position and sought allies in their push of the new policy. In March 1980, Carter was encouraged, and agreed, to speak to the National League of Cities (NLC). White House aides reasoned that, as officials of medium and small cities, NLC members would be more conservative than the Conference of Mayors and therefore more supportive of an anti-inflation stance. The meeting would give Carter exposure to a sympathetic audience willing to share in the sacrifice necessary to rescue the nation.(57) Carter also sought the support of PICs, organizations composed of business leaders that gained considerable influence in local youth employment policies under the administration's program.(58) Both these allies were more conservative than the Democratic interests that Carter had already antagonized. The president was forced to go outside his traditional constituents to find support for his less-than-traditional Democratic approach.

Problems in Congress

Carter had managed to maintain congressional support for the initial legislation, which created the test projects, even though Democratic interest groups opposed the president's methods. He had less success when the final proposal went to Congress. There, Carter found himself caught in the middle. However, he was not caught between Republicans and Democrats but between labor Democrats and education Democrats. Augustus Hawkins of the House subcommittee on employment insisted on more money for jobs and less for education.(59) Hawkins was concerned that, with federal money so precious during a budget cutting year, education and labor could not both be fully funded. However, there also existed a difference in ideology between Hawkins and the president. As noted above, the original Humphrey-Hawkins bill, in good liberal fashion, sought full employment and committed the government to use public sector jobs to reaching that goal. Carter had signed a compromise bill that removed the commitment to public sector jobs, preserving the goal of full employment while leaving the means open to the president.(60) However, as time passed he grew less enthusiastic, and by 1980 Carter announced that the goals of the Humphrey-Hawkins act (Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act of 1978, Public Law 523, 95th Cong., 2d sess. [October 27, 1978]) were "no longer practicable." The president postponed the target dates for full employment and low inflation from 1983 to 1988.(61) In essence, by 1980, Carter had replaced the Humphrey-Hawkins approach as the means of fighting unemployment with his own, representing the change from traditional Democratic thinking to Carter's "new and improved" variety. The goal of immediate full employment, achieved through federal spending, was replaced by a long-term solution that would not provide jobs as much as prepare unskilled and uneducated workers for the workforce. This approach would reduce dependence on the federal government, but, as many liberals feared, would also require sacrifice in the short term. The solutions offered by Carter, many admitted, would serve long-term goals but would risk having many people fall between the cracks in the short term, as federal funds for established work programs dried up before the education provided by new programs would be of help to those needing a job immediately.(62)

Labor Democrats had substantive concerns, but they were not the only congressional critics of the new youth programs. The most troublesome opponents for Carter proved to be Democrats on the education subcommittee of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. Many of these senators were liberals, supportive of a federal role in education, who had fought successfully with Carter to overcome conservative opposition to a federal Department of Education.(63) To protect their recent victory, they remained skeptical of the cooperation and sharing of funds between the labor and education provisions of the bill. While close coordination between work and school remained the focus of the administration's solution to the youth employment problem, committee members feared that existing education programs would be neglected. Chair of the subcommittee, Clairborne Pell (D-RI), summed up this view when he expressed his support for the goals of the bill but identified "a major reservation. I am concerned that the program not be financed at the expense of critically important and successful education programs already in effect."(64)

While many members of Congress expressed concern over new, untested initiatives in a budget-cutting election year, liberal Democrats on the Senate education subcommittee proved fatal to the bill. The combination of education and labor programs, central to the administration's proposal, ignited turf wars among liberal Democratic senators trying to protect their programs at a time when traditional Democratic programs of the Great Society variety were coming under fire. While the House passed the Youth Act of 1980 (96th Cong., 2d sess., H.R. 1034) by a wide, bipartisan margin, the Senate subcommittee held the bill hostage until provisions were included to protect other education programs. Unfortunately for the administration, the Senate committee finally reported the bill one week before the presidential election recess. Upon returning after the November election, few Senators showed enthusiasm for the bill. The president was now a lame duck. Rather than pass expensive new initiatives and spend valuable political capital, members of Congress preferred to allow the Reagan administration to propose legislation before taking any further action. For all of the study, rhetoric, bickering, and divisions, the Carter youth initiative died quietly, without ever reaching the Senate floor.(65)

Youth Employment and Presidential Authority

Although the Youth Act did not become law, the struggles over the new youth initiative offer a case study in which to examine the leadership position of President Carter. Carter campaigned both against rejuvenated conservatism of the Reagan variety and the traditional liberal Democratic government. He acknowledged that the solutions of the liberal Great Society had become part of the problem and promised to remake the government to work more efficiently and responsively to the people's needs. Party loyalists, the interest groups that had fueled the Great Society, expected this Democratic president to continue the Johnson legacy on social programs. But Carter could not continue with business as usual. He had staked his presidency on the ability to make the government work better than it had before. Carter promised to fulfill the goals of liberal ideology by solving long-term problems in new ways.

The youth programs are clear evidence of the difficulties Carter faced in trying to refocus the Democratic Party. The groups and individuals that criticized Carter's initiatives most strongly did so to protect their established relationship with the government. Because existing job programs benefited minorities, large cities, and labor, any new moves by Carter would have upset Democratic constituencies who held client relationships with administrative agencies and cabinet departments.(66) The president's move toward business--by making inflation his primary economic concern, including business in the local decision-making process, and offering tax credits to employ youth--pleased Republicans. They remained surprisingly quiet as the youth programs were debated and moved through Congress.

Thus, the youth initiative of the Carter administration splintered the Democratic Party, revealing the fault lines of a vulnerable ideology. By tying two liberal programs together (the federal role in education and employment), Carter pitted one against the other, as labor and education Democrats competed for precious federal funds in a budget-cutting environment. Yet, the president expected them to follow his lead as the only way to renew the country's faith in the Democratic Party. In his diary just before leaving office, Carter reflected on the "liberal activists" and others who had criticized him and withdrew their support when he refused to fulfill all their expectations. He felt betrayed as he wrote that if "they ... had been as friendly toward me a year ago as they are now that I'm going out of office, I would not have had any trouble getting reelected."(67) Of course, they too felt betrayed.

Carter faced opposition for many reasons, including his inability to lower inflation and to resolve the hostage crisis in Iran. But his problems can be explained at least partially by his position as a Democratic president in the late 1970s. The dominant ideology of the Great Society had been fractured in the late 1960s but was not yet dead. Most Americans still felt a responsibility to the underprivileged in society. However, Carter's slim victory in 1976 was as much a reaction against the party of Watergate as a commitment to Democratic ideals. The dominant ideology with which Carter was affiliated was coming under attack. Carter's pledge to uphold the commitments of government through new, more responsible means struck a chord-with the American electorate. However, Carter faced Stephen Skowronek's "impossible leadership position," in which the question is not one of power alone.(68) Recall that Carter could have authorized his initiatives through existing CETA programs but requested new legislation to establish congressional support. His authority to act was limited by his affiliation with a vulnerable dominant ideology. To save the ideology, he tried to remake the party, to fix perceived problems with the regime while maintaining its soul. He reduced presidential leadership to problems of management and technique while seeking authority to act. In trying to save the old ideology by reshaping it, the president became susceptible to attacks from adherents of both the opposing ideology emerging to challenge the vulnerable dominant thought, and the old line trying to salvage a long-held tradition. To liberal Democrats benefiting from Great Society programs and federal outlays, Carter was a heretic who challenged the very ideology he was chosen to uphold. They supported the general thrust of his programs while fighting with him over implementation and priorities, thus questioning his commitment to the party. Republicans, who worked with Carter on the youth programs, simply waited to exploit the fissures in the Democratic ranks to strengthen their position in 1980. For them, the president could not go far enough and as head of the Democratic Party ultimately represented all that was wrong with the old ideology. They supported Carter's programs but were of little comfort when the president found himself attacked from the Left.

The stalled youth employment initiative, of course, did not destroy the Carter presidency. Other issues and problems weighed much more heavily on the mind of the president and on the collective mind of the American electorate in November 1980. In fact, the failed Carter administration essentially destroyed the youth initiative. However, the youth policies of the Carter administration do suggest the problems that a president can have in trying to refocus a party. Jimmy Carter could balance liberal and conservative policies, trying to maintain a commitment to traditional goals using new methods, in an attempt to save the soul of traditional liberal ideology. But the vulnerability of the Great Society legacy proved too much. American voters preferred Ronald Reagan, a particularly effective exploiter of the fault lines of a vulnerable Democratic ideology.


(1.) The two most prominent examples of the trusteeship model are Charles O. Jones, The Trusteeship Presidency. Jimmy Carter and the United States Congress (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1988); and Erwin C. Hargrove, Jimmy Carter as President (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1988).

(2.) Burton I. Kaufman, The Presidency of James Earl Carter Jr., American Presidency Series (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1993), p. 109.

(3.) Gary W. Reichard, "Early Returns: Assessing Jimmy Carter," Presidential Studies Quarterly 20, no. 3 (1990):604.

(4.) John Dumbrell, The Carter Presidency: A Re-Evaluation, 2d ed. (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1995), p. 214.

(5.) Kaufman, The Presidency of James Earl Carter Jr., p. 29.

(6.) "Remarks by Stuart E. Eizenstat at the Baltimore Convention Center--The Vice President's Task Force on Youth Employment Conference on Workplaces and Classrooms: A Partnership for the 80s--September 27, 1979," copy located in letter, Stuart Eizenstat to Senator Jacob Javits, 12/6/179, box LA-6, WHCF-Subject File, Jimmy Carter Library, Atlanta, Georgia (hereafter cited as JCL).

(7.) Stephen Skowronek, The Politics That Presidents Make: Leadership from John Adams to George Bush (Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 1993), pp. 39-41.

(8.) Grace A. Franklin and Randall B. Ripley, CETA: Politics and Policy, 1973-1982 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1984), pp. 4-13.

(9.) Harrison H. Donnelly, "CETA: Successful Jobs Program or Subsidy for Local Governments?" Congressional Quarterly Weekly Review 36, no. 13 (April 1, 1978):799-806; Franklin and Ripley, CETA, pp. 13-18.

(10.) These groups included Indians, seasonal farm workers, offenders, older workers, and other disadvantaged groups.

(11.) American Enterprise Institute, Youth Employment Legislation: The Youth Act of 1980 (Legislative Analysis no. 20, 96th Cong., July 1980) (Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1980), pp. 3-4.

(12.) Congress, joint Economic Committee, Youth Unemployment: Hearing before the Joint Economic Committee, 94th Cong., 2d sess., September 9, 1976.

(13.) Humphrey cosponsored, along with Augustus Hawkins, a bill that would require the federal government to create public sector jobs if private sector employment fell short of full employment. The bill became law, but the teeth had been removed in passage. The bill, discussed further below, represents the traditional Democratic approach to unemployment that Carter tried to redirect.

(14.) Text of Carter's March 9, 1977 message to Congress on youth employment programs, cited in Congressional Quarterly Weekly Review 35, no. 12 (March 19, 1977): 484.

(15.) Letter, Senator Jackson to President Carter, 5/23/77; Memo, Stuart Eizenstat to President Carter, 5/26/77, box LA-6, WHCF-Subject File, JCL.

(16.) Mary Eisner Eccles, "Congress Mounts Attack on Youth Unemployment," Congressional Quarterly Weekly Review 35, no. 22 (May 28, 1977): 1072-73.

(17.) Ibid.

(18.) Memo, Bert Carp to Stuart Eizenstat, 4/11/77, box LA-6, WHCF-Subject File, JCL. As shown below, the prevailing wage issue would resurface with the 1980 legislation and would prove to be the only major point of contention that conservatives had with Carter's youth initiative.

(19.) Memo, Stuart Eizenstat to President Carter, 8/1/77, box LA-6, WHCF-Subject File, JCL.

(20.) Memo, Rick Hertzberg to President Carter, 8/3/77, box LA-6, WHCF-Subject File, JCL.

(21.) Letter, Vernon Jordan, Jr. to Stuart Eizenstat, 5/10/77, box LA-6, WHCF-Subject File, JCL. Jordan's criticism of Carter's fiscal conservatism was echoed by Margaret Bush Wilson in her keynote address at the 1977 convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. See Paul Delaney, "NAACP Aide Says Carter Disappoints Blacks," New York Times, June 28, 1977, p. 12.

(22.) Letter, Joseph D. Alviani to Jack Watson, 9/1/77, box LA-6, WHCF-Subject File, JCL.

(23.) See memo, Gene Eidenberg to President Carter, 3/13/80, "3/17/80" folder, box 175, Office of the Staff Secretary-Handwriting File, JCL.

(24.) Letter, Jack Watson to Joseph D. Alviani, 9/30/77, box LA-6, WHCF-Subject File, JCL.

(25.) Memo, Sam Brown to President Carter, 9/8/77, "9/19/77 [2]" folder, box 50, Office of the Staff Secretary-Handwriting File, JCL.

(26.) For administration responses to the ACTION proposal, see Memo, Jack Watson and Larry Bailey to President Carter, 9/16/77, box LA-6, WHCF-Subject File, JCL; Memo, Joseph W. Aragon to President Carter, 9/13/77; Memo, W. Bowman Cutter and Suzanne H. Woosley to Rick Hutcheson, 9/15/77; Memo, Stuart Eizenstat to President Carter, 9/17/77; "Additional Staff Comments," all located in "9/19/77 [2]" folder, box 50, Office of the Staff Secretary-Handwriting File, JCL.

(27.) Some Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) prime sponsors had been using CETA funds to pay the wages of city workers, thus turning the targeted employment program into federal subsidies for cities. See Donnelly, "CETA: Successful Jobs Program Or Subsidy for Local Governments?"

(28.) Carter signed a weakened version of the full employment bill, but within two years he had backed away even further from the government's responsibility to directly provide jobs for the unemployed. See below.

(29.) Harrison Donnelly, "Carter Proposes $2 Billion Increase in Labor Spending," Congressional Quarterly Weekly Review 36, no. 4 (January 28, 1978): 161-62.

(30.) David Rosenbaum, "96% of Taxpayers Promised Cuts; Rise in Jobs for Youth Planned," New York Times, January 20, 1978, p. 13; Edward Cowan, "Carter Asks Renewal of Job and Training Programs," New York Times, February 23, 1978, p. 7.

(31.) Memo, Cecil C. Andrus to President Carter, 5/5/78; Memo, Stuart Eizenstat to President Carter, 5/25/78, "10/1/77-10/31/78" folder, box LA-6, WHCF-Subject File, JCL.

(32.) Congress and the Nation, V, 1978 Chronology, pp. 410-14; Edward Cowan, "White House Bill Offers Tax Relief to Spur Jobs," New York Times, May 20, 1978, p. 26.

(33.) In fact, historian William E. Leuchtenburg has identified a conscious effort on the part of the administration to not emphasize "the first hundred days." See Leuchtenburg, In the Shadow of FDR: From Harry Truman to Bill Clinton, 2d ed. (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993), p. 193.

(34.) Memo, Bill Spring and Kitty Higgins to Stuart Eizenstat and Bert Carp, 11/13/78, "11/1/78" folder, box LA-7, WHCF-Subject File, JCL.

(35.) Memo, Stuart Eizenstat to President Carter, 4/11/79, box LA-7, WHCF-Subject File, JCL.

(36.) For example, Peter Solomon, deputy mayor of New York, told the New York Times (November 12, 1979) that private employers had problems finding youths with skills for "white collar jobs in our post industrial society." Eizenstat responded to Solomon's comments, trying to get the administration some good press. See Letter, 12/5/79, box LA-6, WHCF-Subject File, JCL.

(37.) Memo, Bill Spring, Tom Glynn, Kitty Higgins to Stuart Eizenstat, 7/20/79; memo, Stuart Eizenstat to Jim McIntyre, 11/6/79; both located in box LA-7, WHCF-Subject File, JCL.

(38.) Memo, Stuart Eizenstat to President Carter, 12/28/79; Memo, Vice President Mondale, Stuart Eizenstat, Jim McIntyre, Charlie Schultze, Ray Marshall to President Carter, n.d.; both located in "(12/18/79[4])" folder, box 160, Office of the Staff Secretary-Handwriting File, JCL.

(39.) Carter's education component triggered conflict with liberals on two fronts. First, they generally opposed the participation of the private sector, particularly business groups, in local decision making. Second, the proposal created competition between labor Democrats and education Democrats, as the two programs would be tied together and, many thought, would compete for funds. See below.

(40.) Memo, Stuart Eizenstat to President Carter, 12/18/79, "(12/18/79[4])" folder, box 160, Office of the Staff Secretary-Handwriting File, JCL.

(41.) Memo, Vice President Mondale to President Carter, 12/19/79, "(12/18/79[4])" folder, box 160, Office of the Staff Secretary-Handwriting File, JCL.

(42.) To some extent, even Kennedy recognized the problems facing traditional liberal ideology. He offered to replace regulations with fiscal incentives as the means to increase youth employment. See the Roger Wilkins, "Kennedy Views Youth Jobs as a Key to City Upgrading," New York Times, May 14, 1979, p. 9.

(43.) Memo, Vice President Mondale to President Carter, 12/19/79, "(12/18/79[4])" folder, box 160, Office of the Staff Secretary-Handwriting File, JCL.

(44.) For the press report of the new proposal, see Philip Shabecoff, "More Youth Jobs Reported Sought in Carter Budget," New York Times, December 29, 1979, p. 1.

(45.) Martin Donsky, "Carter Proposes Sharp Cuts in Public Service and Youth Jobs Programs," Congressional Quarterly Weekly Review 37, no. 4 (January 27, 1979): 123-24.

(46.) Roger Wilkins, "Administration Prepares Youth Employment Plan," New York Times, September 13, 1979, p. 23.

(47.) Memo, Louis Martin to President Carter, 3/12/79, "(3/14/79)" folder, box 122, Office of the Staff Secretary-Handwriting File, JCL.

(48.) John Herders, "Changes in Society Holding Black Youth in Jobless Web," New York Times, March 11, 1979, p. 1.

(49.) Letter, New York State Congressional Delegation to President Carter, 3/28/79, "4/1/79-8/31/79" folder, box LA-6, WHCF-Subject File, JCL. See also Letter, Herman Katkow to Bill Spring, 6/2/80; Letter, Jack Watson to Ed Koch, 6/6/80; Letter, Jerry Pillari to Bill Spring, 6/20/80; all located in box LA-6, WHCF-Subject File, JCL.

(50.) Roger Wilkins, New York Times, May 14, 1979, p. 9.

(51.) See letters from Bill Spring, located in "5/1/80-1/20/81" folder, box LA-6, WHCF-Subject File, JCL.

(52.) Letter, Jim McIntyre to Jacob Javits, 5/29/79, box LA-6, WHCF-Subject File, JCL.

(53.) Memo, Louis Martin to President Carter, 6/11/79, box LA-6, WHCF-Subject File, JCL.

(54.) Employers would be allowed to pay sixteen- to nineteen-year-olds 85 percent of the minimum wage for the first six months of employment. Republicans argued that forcing employers to pay teens the minimum wage would discourage them from hiring youths and thus defeat the purpose of the program. See Harrison Donnelly, "Administration Pushing for Senate Action on New Youth Jobs, Education Bill," Congressional Quarterly Weekly Review 38, no. 43 (October 25, 1980): 3196.

(55.) Memo, Stuart Eizenstat to President Carter, 2/18/80, box LA-7, WHCF-Subject File, JCL.

(56.) Ibid.; for the position of education groups, including the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), see Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, Youth Act 1980: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Education, Arts, and Humanities of the Committee on Labor and Human Resources, 96th Cong., 2d sess., March 7, June 17-18, 1980.

(57.) Memo, Gene Eidenberg to President Carter, 3/13/80; news release, National League of Cities, 3/16/80; both located in "3/17/80" folder, box 175, Office of the Staff Secretary-Handwriting File, JCL.

(58.) Memo, Kitty Higgins to Stuart Eizenstat, 7/17/80, box LA-6, WHCF-Subject File, JCL.

(59.) Memo, Stuart Eizenstat to President Carter, 2/18/80; Memo, Bill Spring and Kitty Higgins to Stuart Eizenstat, 2/28/80; Info Sheet, 2/28/80; all located in box LA-7, WHCF-Subject File, JCL. Hawkins was joined by the Congressional Black Caucus in his call for more money for jobs and less for education.

(60.) Congressional Quarterly Almanac, 1977, p. 175; 1978, p. 272.

(61.) Dale Tate, "Economic Report Sees `Mild' 1980 Recession," Congressional Quarterly Weekly Review 38, no. 5 (February 2, 1980): 246.

(62.) Essentially, this was the point made by Hawkins's cosponsor, Hubert Humphrey, during the joint committee hearings in 1976. See above.

(63.) See Beryl A. Radin and Willis D. Hawley, The Politics of Federal Reorganization: Creating the U.S. Department of Education (New York: Pergamon, 1988).

(64.) Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, Youth Act 1980, p. 1; for the administration's recognition of Pell's concerns, and their attempts to pull him behind the Youth Act, see Memo, Frank Moore and Stuart Eizenstat to President Carter, 6/80, box LA-6, WHCF-Subject File, JCL.

(65.) Harrison Donnelly, "Carter Youth Jobs Plan in Trouble as Education Programs Face Fund Cuts," Congressional Quarterly Weekly Review 38, no. 23 (June 7, 1980), p. 1579; Congressional Quarterly Almanac, 1980, pp. 440-43. While Senate Republicans planned to reintroduce a sub-minimum wage provision in the full Senate, there is no reason to believe that a compromise similar to that of the Youth Employment and Demonstration Projects Act (YEDPA) could not have been reached.

(66.) See James Q. Wilson, American Government: Institutions and Policies (Lexington, KY: D. C. Heath, 1992), pp. 426-51.

(67.) Jimmy Carter, Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President (New York: Bantam Books, 1982), pp. 586-87.

(68.) Skowronek, The Politics Presidents Make, pp. 361-406.
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Title Annotation:Wheeling and Dealing in the White House
Author:Kaplowitz, Craig Allan
Publication:Presidential Studies Quarterly
Date:Jan 1, 1998
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